How do you keep the freedom and creativity of summer in your life as school starts?
One of the loveliest parts of summer for many families is the opportunity to watch their children’s creativity flourish. Sometimes “I’m bored” can be the most powerful tool for dreaming and exploring.
For years, when my son came to me with the eternal “I’m bored” complaint, I would find myself listing off the millions of things he could do: read a book, play a card game, draw a picture, etc. Often this would end up in a boredom standoff…me getting more and more frustrated that he wouldn’t try any of my suggestions, and he, diving deeper into the “I’m bored” pool. But, this summer, I’ve tried a new tactic. When I hear “I’m bored,” I respond: “Cool! I look forward to seeing what you come up with to do.” And then I go back to whatever I was doing before.
Last week, we had one of those moments. Ten minutes went by, and I found my son up in a tree with three clothing hangers and a bunch of string. Still not sure what he was doing, but he was happy, and he stayed there for at least an hour without mentioning the B-word.
But, while it may still feel like summer, back to school is just around the corner (or well on its way)! So often during the school year, there isn’t even time to think about boredom. It’s a rush to get out of the house in time, a rush to get to after-school activities or to pick up from after care, a rush to read before bed. And the weekends somehow feel the same. Wouldn’t it be lovely to allow the creativity that can flourish with summer into our lives during the school year, at least a little bit?
More than 70% of the children in the audience come home after seeing one of our shows and engage in show-related creative play or projects--like acting out a scene, drawing a character from the show, etc.
Bay Area Children’s Theatre has been doing surveys for many years, and we have learned that more than 70% of the children in the audience come home after seeing one of our shows and engage in show-related creative play or projects--like acting out a scene, drawing a character from the show, etc. These small moments of creativity are at the core of how children learn—by exploring, dreaming, and playing. And in our Little Performers Class, we invite children to take a fantastical journey through a story led by their teacher. They try on characters, create artwork to support the story, and help to fill in all the details of their adventure.
Children who explore new ideas and stories strengthen their imagination, learn to visualize, and gain confidence in being able to create a “journey” in their own mind.
So, this school year, perhaps seeing a show will be the key to unlocking a moment of creative passion in your child, or perhaps taking a class will open the door to imaginative thinking.
The benefits are huge. Children who explore new ideas and stories strengthen their imagination, learn to visualize, and gain confidence in being able to create a “journey” in their own mind.
Hope your family has a happy journey back to school and beyond!
Nina Meehan is the Executive Artistic Director of Bay Area Children’s Theatre. Register now for fall classes at www.bactheatre.org
This post was originally published in the Piedmont Post.